Arkansas v Missouri

Arkansas made their statement to the committee: we stink

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Arkansas isn’t just bad on the road this season.

They’re awful.

They entered Tuesday night’s game at Missouri 1-7 in the SEC in road games. Those seven losses came by an average of more than 13 points. They lost by 21 at South Carolina. They lost by 18 at Vanderbilt. They scored a combined 103 points in those two games. The one road win the Razorbacks do have? At Auburn.

Missouri, on the other hand, is quite similar to Arkansas. While they struggle on the road, the Tigers are awesome at home, which is why is should come as no surprise to you that Missouri smacked the Razorbacks around during their visit to Columbia. What is mildly surprising, however, is that Arkansas didn’t even put up a fight. They were lost 93-63. They were down 48-22 at halftime. It was an embarrassment — or a statement, depending on which side your loyalties lie — especially when you consider the fact that Mike Anderson’s tenure at Missouri came to an abrupt end two years ago.

Anderson was booed lustily during the game. I have a feeling that Phil Pressey and Laurence Bowers took just that much more enjoyment out of Tuesday’s mollywhopping.

Here’s the thing that just doesn’t make sense: Arkansas was playing for their tournament lives. Thanks to the win over Florida last month and the win over Kentucky last weekend, the ugly status of fellow bubble teams meant that Arkansas still had a chance to play their way into the dance. Winning on the road against the second-best team in the SEC would have been a great way to make a statement to the tournament selection committee.

They want teams to separate themselves, and given the fact that Tennessee losing to Georgia and Ole Miss losing to South Carolina and Mississippi State in the span of a week hasn’t come close to eliminating them from the bubble conversation, it shouldn’t really be that difficult to create that separation. Boise State did it when they beat Colorado State. Creighton did it by beating Wichita State. Cal did it by beating everyone over the last six weeks.

And Arkansas?

They did it by losing by 30 points at Missouri.

That’s the easiest way to get yourself onto the wrong side of the bubble.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
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Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two¬†appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.

On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.

One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).

And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.

While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.

And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.

St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.

Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.

St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.

The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?